Town meet­ing gets heated

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff, Stanstead

Stanstead’s last town meet­ing was the strangest one that this jour­nal­ist has ever wit­nessed. As a mat­ter of fact, it was the strangest one at any level of gov­er­nance that we have ever wit­nessed.

At the heart of the mat­ter was the ques­tion­ing by cit­i­zens of Beebe about a project from Gran­ite Cen­tral, the gran­ite mu­seum, to have a gran­ite re­cy­cling project us­ing a crusher. Since none of the neigh­bours had any idea what size it was, com­mu­ni­ca­tion not be­ing the forte of the Coop, ru­mours went wild about the noise and dust im­pact of the project that is to be lo­cated in an ex­ist­ing plant, which may or may not be el­i­gi­ble as in­dus­trial any­more, ac­cord­ing to some.

It was a moot point, to say the least.

What we learned was that Gran­ite Cen­tral was in deep fi­nan­cial trou­ble, that they had never paid a penny of rent to the land­lord and that the Mayor, well not the mayor but Phillipe Du­til, was pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion since last Oc­to­ber! A fact not re­flected at the Registre des En­treprises du Québec but who cares about de­tails of that sort.

And that, as pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, he was not the Mayor but a vol­un­teer.

So the farce be­gan. The mayor called Phillipe Du­til to ex­plain the project all the while chair­ing the meet­ing! This news­pa­per asked the mayor to ask the Gen­eral Di­rec­tor to give us a le­gal opin­ion on the mat­ter. Clearly an im­pos­si­ble task as she con­vo­luted thru an an­swer that only the best Don­ald Trump spin­ner could imag­ine, even cit­ing that she had con­sulted with the town’s lawyer, Monty Sylvestre. This news­pa­per would love to see a writ­ten brief from the firm at­test­ing that they agree that a mayor, sit­ting as such, can also be an in­di­vid­ual rep­re­sent­ing a cor­po­ra­tion, what­ever its sta­tus is, sit­ting in the same chair.

That one coun­cil­lor, André-Jean Bé­dard, is also di­rectly in­volved in the project, as the sup­plier of the equip­ment to be used, and that three others are di­rectly in­volved in the in­dus­try, that a fourth is the son of one of the other in­volved coun­cil­lors didn’t seem to bother any­one. Ob­vi­ously, if all had been ex­cused from the ques­tion pe­riod there would not have been the nec­es­sary quo­rum to con­tinue.

Ex­cept those present who chal­lenged the process only to be told that they would be ex­pelled if they con­tin­ued to chal­lenge Mr. Du­til’s role. That he was so oddly the op­po­site of who he is usu­ally, it bog­gled most minds in the full packed room, chairs hav­ing to be taken from the Mayor’s of­fice to the meet­ing hall.

What fol­lowed was mad­ness as any­one sane was chal­lenged by who­ever was chair­ing the event. As democ­racy goes, this was a low and ex­cep­tional mo­ment, a first in our rec­ol­lec­tion.

Since the equip­ment will be given by Mr. Bé­dard’s com­pany and that it is read­ily avail­able, tests will be con­ducted soon to ei­ther ap­pease or con­firm the fears of those liv­ing close by.

As the first ques­tion pe­riod ended, most left, leav­ing the faith­ful to re­main for a bor­ing meet­ing where not much of in­ter­est was dis­cussed.

Phots Stanstead Jour­nal

Full house at the Stanstead monthly meet­ing.

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